Energy networks

Editor's picks

An exclusive Utility Week poll of senior sector figures has highlighted the growing concerns over the risk of a cybersecurity breach. Eight out of ten respondents said they regard a serious hack as a high-risk factor, with 85% saying it would have a major impact on their business. One described this as their company’s “biggest fear”.
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SP Energy Networks has successfully used renewables to re-energise a portion of its network as part of ground-breaking trial. The capability to restart the power grid in the event of a partial or total shutdown of the national transmission network has previously been provided by large transmission-connected fossil fuel power stations. The Distributed ReStart project is seeking to develop the capability to kick start the electricity system using smaller distributed energy resources such as wind, solar and hydro generators.
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John Morea is to retire as chief executive of gas distribution network SGN on 12 August after serving in the role since 2008. Mark Wild, who led the recent opening of the Elizabeth tube in London as chief executive of Crossrail, has been appointed as Morea’s successor and will take up the position on 15 August.
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Featured

The inaugural UK Utilities Risk Report, from Utility Week and Marsh, highlights the key issues keeping sector leaders awake at night. From cybersecurity to policy and regulatory blockers, extreme weather and price volatility, this report presents a snapshot of the key concerns for utilities.
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Utilities know they must remain ever alert to the challenge of ensuring high standards of health and safety with new risks constantly emerging, not least due to developments in other industries and the impact of the pandemic. This report seeks to identify the key challenges and drivers for change and how utilities are responding.
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Latest in Energy networks

Electricity North West (ENW) has earmarked ten substations in Greater Manchester for a summer makeover as part of its Transforming our Spaces campaign. The programme, which began in 2019, sees the company revamp areas of land around electricity substations that have suffered vandalism, lack wildlife or do not have funding to carry out such projects.
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Companies in the offshore wind industry have announced plans to increase voltage of the power cables in arrays from 66kV to 132kV. They said the rise in voltage will improve the efficiency of electricity collection, facilitate the deployment of larger, more powerful turbines, and lower costs and environmental impacts by reducing the length of cables.
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National Grid Electricity Transmission has energised its new Shurton substation in Somerset that will eventually connect the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant to the power grid. The facility, which sits adjacent to the Hinkley site, is now transferring energy from the Taunton substation to Shurton. Later this year it will begin supplying electricity to the site to support the construction of the power station.
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"Tens of billions" of pounds worth of investment is required to upgrade the UK’s transmission system as the generation mix decarbonises, a major study by National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) is set to conclude. Giving evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee’s ongoing inquiry into the security of energy supplies, the ESO's director of corporate affairs Jake Rigg noted the significant bottleneck between Scotland and England, with the former already host to a 35GW pipeline of offshore wind generation.
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Having confirmed plans to completely separate the Electricity System Operator from National Grid and establish a fully independent Future System Operator by 2024, Ofgem is now exploring potential options for system operation at the distribution level. In the first of a two-part series, Utility Week looks at the positions taken by electricity distribution networks, both in their RIIO ED2 business plans and their responses to a call for input by the regulator.  
Analysis
In an article to mark International Women in Engineering Day, National Grid’s Alice Delahunty argues that a successful energy transition will only be achieved by ensuring the engineering community is representative of society as a whole.
Opinion
Maturing technology, combined with mounting pressure on global supply chains, means the previous trend of “ever cheaper” renewables “may be at an end.” Renewable UK issued the warning as it released a new manifesto for achieving the government’s aim of creating net zero power grid by 2035.
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The government has announced that protection against sky-rocketing energy bills will be extended to domestic customers of heat networks in areas designated for roll out of the communal systems. Ofgem classifies supply to heat networks as a commercial, not domestic, arrangement, meaning their customers do not benefit from the price cap.
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Rushing work to improve the performance of energy networks during storm events may result in sub-optimal solutions for consumers, an industry expert has told Utility Week. Western Power Distribution’s Customer Engagement Group chair Duncan McCombie said while he believes the actions proposed by Ofgem in its recently published report into Storm Arwen seem sensible, he has concerns about the amount of time networks have to implement them.
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